I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first laid eyes on the movement for this RGM Pennsylvania Tourbillon watch (which I discussed here). Sure the final version isn’t much different than the preview I saw a while ago, but seeing it all put together with case, text, hands, and finishing is really satisfying. I feel a nice level of price seeing this timepiece, knowing it is all American. It really doesn’t have too much to do with the fact that “we can do it.” If Americans needed to build a tourbillon watch a while ago, we would have. This isn’t an achievement in technology or engineering. Rather, it is a signal of our American appreciation in fine watches. That we care enough about good looking, traditional watches to invest enough to make our own. That for me feels good, and a positive sign that Americans are taking timepieces seriously again. A lost appreciation (to a large degree), that is coming back, bit by bit.
RGM offers the Pennsylvania Tourbillon (made in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) in steel, gold, or platinum. And it is very expensive, but also hand-made. It costs $75k in steel, $95k in gold, and $125k in platinum. Pricey, but not out of the question when summing up its production process, and competition. This isn’t just a tourbillon, but a finely made mechanical item.
Click on the link above to read more about the movement itself. I go over more of the details there. Functions include just the time and the tourbillon – which is quite large, and visually balances the off-center hour and minute dial. In all honesty, the movement is quite simple. No fancy tricks, complications, or features. Just a tourbillon that wouldn’t be out of place in Ben Franklin’s workshop. The 43.5mm wide case is highly polished with a think coined edging on the side of the case. There is also a small sapphire exhibition window on the side of the case for another view of the movement.
The finishing and decoration on the movement (which is also the dial) is impressive, and done in a very classic style. I haven’t seen the watch myself, but I really look forward to personally examining it under magnification. It is very good looking mechanical watch, and for some reason does in fact feel distinctly American. Part of that is because RGM based the design of the bridges and the decoration after classic American pocket watches.
While the Pennsylvania Tourbillon MM 2 watch is simple and manually wound, I can see RGM upping the ante a bit with future models that have more complications. The movement was likely designed in a manner that makes it possible to design additional complications on or around it.
RGM has also started a special “trade-in” programs for its customers. If you have enough spare RGM watches laying around, you might just have enough to get one of their tourbillons. You never know! You can visit their site for more details on that program.
[Update: July 8, 2014 - While we value the quality of their product, in light of recent events, aBlogtoWatch will no longer cover RGM products and cannot endorse RGM as a company. - Ed. (What's This?) ]
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